Last fall, Shawnee football didn’t look anything like Shawnee football. Injuries piled up along with seven losses.
But Shawnee looked like Shawnee Friday night for 24 minutes. Yes, it’s Week 1 and playoff thoughts are weeks away. But … the Braves ran with authority, passed with efficiency and hit hard on defense. Thurgood Marshall was no match in the first half as the Braves built a 21-0 lead. After a lightning delay short-circuited the halftime show, the second half was postponed. The Braves and Cougars will resume the game tonight at 7.
The Braves piled up 170 rushing yards and 98 passing yards on the way to their three-touchdown lead. Quarterback Michael Guyer ripped off touchdown runs of 48 and 56 yards. He finished the half with 104 yards on nine carries. His touchdowns were quick strikes. The first was on the first play after a short Marshall punt. The other was the second play of the drive.
While Guyer’s big runs were through big holes and only one hand touched him as crossed the goal line on the second one, Will McCrory was earning 47 tough yards on seven carries and knocking Marshall tacklers on their backs. He scored on a four-yard run midway through the second quarter for a 14-0 lead.
Guyer was pressed into quarterback duty last season for three games because of injuries to three other quarterbacks. He was mostly a runner with little room to run for a 1.8-yard per-carry average on a team-high 76 attempts.
Guyer completed only 15 of 34 passes for 224 yards. But in the first half against Marshall, he showed that he can throw accurately. He completed 6 of 8 passes, including six in a row for 98 yards.
Guyer’s 35-yard toss down the seam to Josh Nelson was a key play in the second touchdown drive. When that drive seemed stalled, Guyer showed he can take a hit. His pass to the end zone was dropped on fourth down, but a Marshall player hit him late and hard for a roughing the passer penalty.
Guyer got up and handed off twice to McCrory, the second one for a touchdown.
Linebackers Nelson and McCrory led a defense that allowed a few first downs and 104 total yards but no big plays. Marshall quarterback Dari’Juan Stroud faced a lot of pressure and completed only 6 of 12 passes for 51 yards.